Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Using Social Media to Find Job Opportunities


Disclaimer: It is still possible to find jobs using traditional channels.
There are still employment ads in the classifieds section of a newspaper, companies list their available positions on their websites, and there may even be a physical bulletin board with postings somewhere. So, why the new emphasis on social media?


Let’s face it—social media is changing the way we converse (using @ symbols, hash tags, and the all-important Facebook lingo), the way we spend our time [see infographic at right], and the way we seek out important content in our lives. In the professional world, applicants are often expected to have some sort of online presence, whether via LinkedIn, Twitter, and/or a personal blog. Due to the staying power of social media and its newfound impact on the job market, university career centers are taking notice.  At Northwestern's University Career Services office, we have been working to develop a new outreach session dedicated to explaining the proper usages of social media from an employer’s standpoint.  This presentation is designed to show students how to build an online presence that will be attractive to employers, as well as how social media sites can serve as excellent resources when looking for job postings.

LinkedIn, the business-related social networking site, allows business organizations to post job opportunities that are put into a database of jobs, easily accessed by a tab on the homepage.  Registered LinkedIn users can search through these postings by job title, keyword, or company name. By uploading a resume and optional (although always encouraged) cover letter, LinkedIn users can apply for the job posting directly on the site.  LinkedIn will then record their application history by including the job posting in a “Saved Jobs” tab. Think this sounds pretty cool? LinkedIn also has a "Jobs You May Be Interested In" feature that uses the information in a user’s profile to suggest job openings that may be appealing.  LinkedIn encourages users to build a complete profile (work experience, resume, candidate summary, etc.) in order to provide the most accurate job suggestions possible.  Before you start to think that only obscure companies might use a feature such as this, check out this statistic: As of June 30, 2011, LinkedIn counted executives from all 2011 Fortune 500 companies as members; its corporate hiring solutions are used by 75 of the Fortune 100 companies.


As with other usages of social media, there is a huge crossover appeal between sites for the job search process. LinkedIn as a company has a huge presence on Twitter.  They have various profiles that list job opportunities in various fields; you can follow @lijobs_eng for Engineering, @lijobs_hr for Human Resources, @lijobs_bizdev for Business Development, @lijobs_mktg for Marketing, and the list continues. Their tweets list job title, location, and a link to the complete LinkedIn job description. Other Twitter accounts, such as @CareerBuilder and @WSJcareers, also post various job opportunities throughout the United States and abroad.  Looking at all of these postings will help to familiarize yourself with a multitude of job opportunities and gain insight into prospective industries.
Make sense? Now you can use these tools when searching for your dream job.  Social media has made it possible to view so many job postings in common locations--make sure to take advantage of this opportunity.
Happy job hunting!


--Holly Bleck
Follow me on Twitter: @HollyBleck
About the Author: Holly Bleck is an undergraduate student at Northwestern University, completing her degree in December 2011.  Holly is majoring in Human Development and Psychological Services with a minor in Art History and the certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications.  She has worked for Northwestern's University Career Services as a Career Ambassador since September 2010, reviewing resumes and conducting outreach session for various student groups.

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